By over a quarter: Massive increase in UK monkeypox cases

More than a quarter
Massive increase in monkeypox cases in the UK

The worldwide epidemic of monkeypox has not yet been contained, indeed: the number of cases in Britain has recently increased significantly. More and more cases of virus infection are also recorded in Germany, so far mainly in the capital Berlin.

Around one o’clock Months after the first cases of monkeypox became known, the number of cases continues to rise. In Britain, health authorities are seeing a particularly strong increase: 104 new cases of monkeypox have recently been added. Compared to last Friday’s data, that’s a 28% increase to 470 cases, according to the UKHSA health authority. Currently, most cases have occurred in men who are homosexual, bisexual, or who have had sexual intercourse with men. The first case of the current outbreak was confirmed in Britain on 7 May.

The virus that causes monkeypox is on the rise worldwide. What is particularly unusual is the first human-to-human spread outside of Africa, where the virus has mostly manifested itself previously. As of June 8, 1,285 laboratory-confirmed cases and one probable case have been reported to the World Health Organization from 28 countries in four WHO regions where monkeypox is uncommon or previously unreported. According to the Global Health medical communications network, there are now nearly 1,500 confirmed cases worldwide.

Most cases have so far occurred in Europe, although the first infections have now also been reported from Latin America. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 189 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 11 federal states of Germany. Most return to Berlin: The Berlin Senate Department recently reported 120 cases, 16 of which had to be treated in hospital. At the end of last week, the RKI had reported 113 cases: all the sufferers were exclusively men. Both the RKI and the WHO assume that the number of cases in Germany and around the world will continue to rise.

Last week, the Standing Commission for Vaccination (STIKO) in Germany recommended vaccination against monkeypox for risk groups. Based on this, adults who have had “close physical contact through non-intact skin or mucous membranes” with a sick person or multiple “unprotected face-to-face contact” should be vaccinated. But the vaccination recommendation also applies to people with an increased risk of exposure. This includes STIKO men who have same-sex sexual contact with changing partners. So far, WHO does not see the need for mass vaccinations against monkeypox.

Still no deaths outside of Africa

The federal government has already ordered large quantities of the smallpox vaccine Imvanex from the manufacturer Bavarian Nordic. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said around 40,000 doses of the vaccine could be administered in June, with another 200,000 over the course of the year. According to the WHO, the previously common smallpox vaccination is 85% effective against a monkeypox infection. However, routine smallpox vaccination was stopped after human smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980.

According to studies, more than 90 percent of people infected with monkeypox recover completely, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated against smallpox or not, the WHO says. Strict courses are rare. No deaths have been recorded outside Africa in the current outbreak. According to the World Health Organization, deaths can occur mainly in young children and in people with compromised immune systems, for example due to an HIV infection.

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